At Risk of Being Misunderstood

There are moments in your life that action is not only required; it’s unavoidable. With that, comes a fear that asks, “how will I be perceived?” Put another way, “will I receive unnecessary judgment, as a result of this action?”

Do You Get Me!?

The fear of judgement is real and is a huge cause for inactivity. But why? Because we are afraid of being taken out of context. We’re afraid people will not “get us.”

It’s Always a Risk!

I love this quote by Pastor Francis Chan. He says:

Sharing the Gospel puts you at risk of being misunderstood.

As a Pastor, I completely and clearly understand what he is saying. In fact, this is a truth. Regardless of what you do, you will always be at risk of being misunderstood. Not necessarily because your wrong. But because everyone must process life through the lens of their own experience and world view.

What Should I Do!?

Because this is true, you’d do well to take confidence is who you are, live out your convictions with care and compassion for others. Accept that you don’t control people’s narratives; only your own.

You have a job to do. You have a gift to present. You have a message to share. Take courage and do well!

P.S. Avoid haters and refuse their judgment. Remember, judgment isn’t necessarily an indication that you are wrong. It may just mean that what you have is not for them.

Root For Their Return!

This morning‘s reading included the passage concerning the prodigal son. For your reference, it was Luke 15:11-32.

Before reading this post, Be sure to read the passage!

Who stood out to me today was the son, who did not leave. He was angry because the father celebrated the return of the prodigal son. In his mind, he had never been celebrated with such grandness. And he stayed!

The father kindly reminds this son of two things.

First, the son has always been with the Father. And for that, all that the Father has belongs to the son.

Second, the celebration is not tied to the prodigals activities; it’s tied to his restoration. “He was once dead, but now is alive. He was once lost, but now was found.“

Here are my thoughts:

1. Expect prodigals to come home.

If the father is waiting in expectation, why would we not!? They will come to their senses, and they will return home. Expect it!

2. Root for the Prodigal.

The return is already difficult enough. There is guilt and shame. Don’t add condemnation. But prepare for celebration and Thanksgiving!

3. Remember, you are blessed for staying.

The son overlooked the blessing of being in the fathers house. The significance of never leaving. Everything that was the father’s, was the son’s, as well. Never forget that!

4. See the bigger picture.

The son was blinded by jealousy. All he could see was a grand celebration for someone, whom he deemed unworthy to receive such festivities. What he missed was the point. The celebration was never because the prodigal deserved it. It was because of the Father‘s love and mercy.

Sidebar, I can’t help but think of this wonderful song every time I read the Parable of The Prodigal. It’s by my family, The Livingstons. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

What’s Your Value?

What is your life really worth? Depends. What are we talking about? Are we talking about your bank account? Are we talking about your human worth? How about the skills and knowledge you possess?

Maybe it depends on who’s asking. How valuable our you to your spouse? Your kids? Your relatives? Your church? Your job? The list goes on and on.

Let me start by saying that you certainly have an intrinsic value by the grace of God. You are a prized possession to the Lord. Not because of who you are. But because what he did for you. Committing one self to death for another screams value! That is the sound of Calvary.

However, I want to clarify. This is meant to address the value that you possess to bring to the rest of the world. What is it? How are you valued by others?

It’s really simple. Your value is measured by what, and how much you “add” to the lives of others around you. Do you make them better? Are you someone they can rely on? Do you offer a great service? Do you add joy to their lives?

So what’s your value? It’s what you have to offer others. Identify it. Work on it. And be generous with it!

Only One Thing Is Necessary

Today’s thought was inspired by our daily ready plan at church. Here’s the passage:

38 Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. 

39 And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. 

40 But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” 

41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things,

42 but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

Luke 10:38-42 ESV

If you are like me, you probably see a lot of yourself in Martha. There is always plenty to do and worry about. And when these things distract us, we begin to get judgmental and feel sorry for ourselves. This is a bad combination!

Regardless of what all we want to work on, or worry about. Jesus assures us that there is only one thing that is necessary. And this is revealed in Mary’s choice.

That is, she chose to be with the Master. Hearing His Teachings. Taking time to tune out all the noise around her and to focus on Him. Jesus said, “this will NOT be taken away from her.” In other words, it was not a waste of her time; it was an investment of her time.

Take this how you will. But in my opinion, we have this same choice today. We can be distracted by every thing undone around us. Or be at peace in the Master’s presence.

Jesus assures us elsewhere in scripture that worry has ZERO benefit:

And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?

Matthew 6:27 ESV

So why do we do it? I think we do it as an attempt to be in control. If I’m worried about it, I’m being “responsible” for it. However, worry has nothing to do with responsible. It’s an unnecessary step in the process that can turn into a distraction, and a life-suck.

So do yourself a favor today. Avoid the unnecessary troubles of worry. Choose the “good portion.” Choose what will be an investment.

That is being with The Master. That IS the “only one thing that is necessary.”

Make Your First Your Worst

I hear from a lot of people who don’t want to start things, because they’re afraid they are not good enough. They’re not “worthy” of participation.

Let me put your worry to rest. You are NOT good enough! That’s right! You’re not good enough, right now. And no one is.

You don’t have to be great to start. But you do have to start to be great.

Les Brown

Anyone you consider great has been in your shoes. The only difference is they started. And in my opinion, made the following statement an anthem.

“Make you first your worst.”

In other words, it’s ok to start off “not so great.” Just make sure every time after that is better than the last. Make sure you never fall back to, or beyond your starting point.

Get started. Stay focused. Get better.

Your Gift. His Purpose.

Last night, we studied Hannah in the Book of 1 Samuel. Hannah vowed to God, that if He would give her a child, she would give him back to God. Through this prayer, God speaks to Hannah, through Eli, and pronounces that she will have a child.

As a parent, there’s no greater gift than a child. That’s why Hannah was so desperate for one. After all, this was her natural purpose; to produce children.

Her child was the center of much passion and desire. But her child was God’s gift to her for His purpose

Samuel, Israel‘s last judge, did mighty works. But perhaps the greatest was that God used him to establish the kingdom’s king. You see, it was Samuel, who God sent, to anoint David, as king.

So no Hannah. No Samuel. No “King” David.

What’s my point?

You have a gift that drives passions and desires. That gift has been given to you by God. It’s your gift. But it’s for His purpose.

So like Hannah, don’t give up on it. It will come in its own time. And when it does, make sure that you develop it and give it back to God.

It may be your gift. But it’s for God‘s purpose.

Looking Forward To It

When you have something ahead of you that you want, how excited do you get? Do you get giddy and smile!?

Why is that? It’s because you have something in the future that is pulling you forward. We’re expecting something good.

Then, there are other times that we’re filled with dread, because what’s ahead of us is not desirable. Potentially painful or difficult. We’re expecting something bad.

All that said, regardless of what you were looking forward to, how you feel in the present is determined by your expectations of your near future.

With this in mind, let me give you something to consider, in order to set proper expectations for the future.

“Things are rarely as bad as you think they are. But can almost always be better than what you make them out to be.”

What’s the point?

If you will manage your expectations, you will always be excited about your future.

Don’t spend all your time dreading about what you have to do. Start being grateful for what you get to do. Don’t over romanticize what’s ahead. Fully appreciate the journey your on today.

Do this, and you will always be saying, “looking forward to it!”

You Can’t Lose

It’s impossible for you to lose! You are set up to win. No exceptions. You may have setbacks. You may make mistakes. But you will never lose.

I love this quote!

Winners never quit and quitters never win.

Vince Lombardi

Remember, I said you’re a winner. End of discussion.

Now that you know this, reframe the way you think. Start thinking like a winner.

Know that every setback is your comeback. Every mistake is a growing pain. You can’t lose. You can only win. As long as you don’t quit. So don’t quit

You Can Count On It!

It’s Monday. And it’s already started.

You don’t feel as enthusiastic as you were. You’re stressed about the things you have to do this week. You’re worried about the consequences of what you didn’t finish last week. Things you didn’t see coming have shown up.

What are these things? These are things that you’ve told yourself are true about Monday. It’s what everyone around you has told you about Monday. And because of that, you’re counting on Monday to be “Monday.”

Don’t do this! And if you have done this, stop it! There is no logical reason that Monday should be bad or stress you out! You’re just following the culture.

Instead, expect Monday to be great! Expect it to be full of opportunity! Expect it to be The continuation of the best week of your life

Will this stop all stress and circumstances in your life? Of course not! But check this out! I love this quote

Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will.

Zig Ziglar

The point is changing the way you think doesn’t change your circumstance. But it will change how well you’ll be able to handle that circumstance.

Need more proof? Let’s go to the authority. Let’s go to scripture

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,

James 1:2 ESV

Notice, the verse says “when,” not “if.” Things are going to happen! You can count on it! But life doesn’t happen to you. It happens for you. So whatever comes your way, just know it should be expected, and you can “count it all joy.” 😉

Don’t Stop Now

One of the greatest obstacles you will ever have to overcome is getting results.

When you get results, you’re immediately tempted to feel satisfied and settle for what you’ve achieved.

Good is the enemy of great.

Jim Collins

If you are doing good, that means you’re telling yourself you are good “enough.” But if you want to be great, you have to expand beyond what is good, and pursue what is beyond you. And what’s beyond you is a moving target.

So before you celebrate, be careful. Be careful that you are not merely acknowledging a milestone, but rather settling for what is good.

Greatness is always delayed.

Keep going! Don’t stop now!